Roosevelt Island Post Office Saved by Residents and Elected Officials

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Roosevelt Island and the Blackwell House by David Berkowitz on flickr creative commons

Historic Plaque on Roosevelt Island. Photo: Roosevelt Island and the Blackwell House by David Berkowitz on flickr creative commons

The USPS had initially included the Roosevelt Island Post Office in New York City on the list of almost 3700 post office closures in August 2011. However, due to elected officials efforts such as Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney who represents New York’s 14th District, Manhattan’s East Side and Western Queens, on December 14, 2011 USPS said the Roosevelt Island Post Office would remain open for now.

Thousands of residents objected to the closing of the post office when it was announced this summer. It is the island’s only post office and it serves over 12,500 residents including many elderly and disabled people who would have great difficulty going to another post office over 1 mile away from Roosevelt Island.

Why did USPS Target Roosevelt Island Post Office for Closure in the First Place?

It is odd that the U.S. Postal Service leadership would target the Roosevelt Island Post Office for closure. By closing this post office the residents would not have any post office on the island. Something seems to be deeply flawed regarding how the Postmaster General and his officers decide which post offices will be “studied” for closure. At a time when we need to create more jobs and revitalize the economy, closing post offices and laying off workers is counterproductive to stimulating the economy.

The negative multiplier effect of closing postal facilities should be denied by Congress and the Postal Regulatory Commission. The jobs of postal workers should be protected and expanded. The Post Office has the potential of being an even greater hub of the local community.

The “Village Post Office” Poor Replacement for Full Service Brick and Mortar Post Offices

The “Village Post Office” which Postmaster General Donahoe and his advisors are pushing fails on many levels:

The Village Post Office only sells stamps and priority packages. Customers would not be able to send a letter by Express mail or to get a package certified as they would from a full service post office.

Another Solution that is Better for America

Senator Sanders recently attended a series of town hall meetings in Vermont and listened to hundreds of residents who spoke out against closings of post offices and postal processing facilities. Instead of closing post offices and putting people out of work, Sanders suggested expanding postal services and keeping post offices open.

He said USPS needs more flexibility to be able to better serve its customers by offering services such as:

  1. Notary Public
  2. Licenses
  3. Copying Services
  4. Verification of documents possibly sent via the internet

However, in recent years certain laws were passed that limited the types of services USPS could offer its customers. One wonders why the postal service was asked to be profitable, operate like a business, and then told it can only provide limited services to the American people.

Sanders said we need to give the postal service more opportunity to serve Americans in ways that meet the needs of its customers.

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